Tie-Down Roping combines speed and accuracy
any other event in professional rodeo, Tie-Down Roping has roots dating back
to the working ranches of the Old West.
When calves were sick or injured, cowboys had to rope and immobilize them
quickly for veterinary treatment. Ranch hands prided themselves on how
quickly they could rope and tie calves, and they soon turned their work
into informal contests.
As the sport matured, being a good horseman and a fast sprinter became
as important to the competitive tie-down roper as being quick and accurate
with a lasso.
In todays modern rodeo, the mounted cowboy starts from a box, a
three-sided, fenced area adjacent to the chute holding the calf. The fourth
side of the box opens into the arena. The calf gets a head start determined
by the length of the arena. One end of a breakaway rope barrier is looped around
the calfs neck and stretched across the open end of the box. When
the calf reaches its advantage point, the barrier is released. If the
roper breaks the barrier before the calf reaches its head start, the cowboy
is assessed a 10-second penalty.
When the cowboy throws his loop and catches the calf, the horse is trained
to come to a stop. After roping the calf, the cowboy dismounts, sprints
to his catch and throws it by hand, a maneuver called flanking. If the
calf is not standing when the cowboy reaches it, he must allow the calf
to get back on its feet, then flank it. After the calf is flanked, the
roper ties any three legs together with a pigging string a short,
looped rope he carries in his teeth during the run.
While the contestant is accomplishing all of that, his horse must pull
back hard enough to eliminate any slack in the rope, but not so hard as
to drag the calf.
When the roper finishes tying the calf, he throws his hands in the air
as a signal that the run is completed. The roper then mounts his horse,
rides forward to create slack in the rope, then waits six seconds to see
if the calf remains tied. If the calf kicks free, the roper receives no
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